Concluding this week’s Captain America theme, I thought I would end with a look back at 1991’s Captain America Goes to War Against Drugs.
This was a sort of PSA comic released in coordination with Venture stores and Gitano jeans. I’m pretty sure that both of those companies art out of business now, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to Google that. It was also produced with the city of Chicago. How this results in a comic starring Captain America is beyond me, but dealing with advertising and marketing in the limited way that I do on a daily basis, this screams “committee.”
Written by Peter David (!) and drawn by Sal Velluto and Keith Williams. I don’t know, maybe David had some community service he had to do or something. I’m not judging. The comic shows aliens observing Captain America from their ship above earth as he goes about his daily routine, i.e. busting up a drug ring.
Later we are introduced to Mitch, a star high school baseball pitcher who is destined for the major leagues. However, it turns out that Mitch has been meeting with a shadowy older gentleman in a trench coat who has been giving him illicit narcotics. During a game, Mitch is under the influence of drugs and hits a player in the head with a ball. A player from the other team chastises Mitch saying that with his fastballs he may have killed someone.
Distraught, Mitch flees and comes across his dealer. Enraged, he strikes the dealer and shatters his face, now revealed to be a mask. (The dealer’s an alien.) Turning the corner, Mitch crosses paths with players from the rival team who proceed to beat him with bats for hurting their teammate. The mob action is stopped by Captain America who informs the boys of the lesson of the issue.
When Mitch tries to convince Captain America of his former dealer’s extraterrestrial origin, Cap dismisses him until he later comes across the shattered face mask at the end. For the record, Captain America is an Avenger who was around for the Kree-Skrull war. So why doesn’t he take this kid’s accusations seriously? If aliens are trying to infiltrate youths with drugs, how does he not get to the bottom of that? In fairness, the story ends with “The End…For Now!” Maybe a sequel was supposed to happen with Cap and the Avengers taking on intergalactic pushers.
There’s a centerfold section in the book with coupons for discounts with companies who apparently participated in this initiative. All I know is that I wish I could go back in time so I could use this $1 off coupon for a 3 pack of Scotch Video Cassettes. Why is there a 50 cent coupon for Adult Tylenol? This comic is for kids. Oh my god, it’s drugs. The aliens infiltrated the coupon section of this dumb comic for their nefarious plan.
I originally found this book 20(?) years ago in a junk store that also sold comics. Even back then the first thing I thought when I saw that cover was that Captain America got his abilities from the Super-Soldier serum. A.K.A. drugs! The only more inappropriate hero I can think of for this is Hourman. Now that I think about it, why isn’t Hourman a spokesman for 5 hour energy or something?
If anything Steve Rogers is the perfect spokesman for drugs. He is a Charles Atlas ad come to life, but instead of a rigorous workout routine, he used a drug. How is he qualified to warn children of the dangers of narcotics? All one of these kids has to do is ask Cap how he got so strong and it’s game over. Instant credibility destroyer. Must be why we never got another story in the alien pusherman saga.
It’s too bad to, because I was really looking forward to Iron Man Stamps Out Alcohol presented by Zayre.